While Harrison Ford has taken on a variety of roles over the decades, his two most well-known characters are men of action: Han Solo, smuggler extraordinaire and Rebel hero in the Star Wars universe, and Indiana Jones, adventuring archaeologist who discovered various mysterious treasures and artifacts in the 20th century. However, despite his time as Han and Indy, as well as appearing in various other action movies, Ford doesn’t consider himself an action star. As he put it:
I never considered myself to be an action film actor. There was action in the films that I was involved in, but they weren’t specifically, fairly described as action films. I did Jack Ryan movies which had action in them, Air Force One was an action film.
Harrison Ford recently did a breakdown of his acting career with Vanity Fair, and when 1993’s The Fugitive came up, he gave the above comment about how he sees himself within the action genre. Yes, the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, as well as the other movies Ford mentioned had action within them, but if you want to count Ford as one of Hollywood’s most prominent action stars alongside such folks as Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis, he doesn’t agree with that assessment.
For Harrison Ford, what all these movies had that appealed to him were compelling stories and characters, and the action was just a nice bonus. In his words:
Rather than just being based and founded on a belief in kinetic activity being sufficient to build a movie around, they had a story, they had a plot, they had characters, they had conflict, so I didn’t consider them action films.
Whether you consider Harrison Ford an action star or not, there’s no denying that many of the action-oriented movies he’s appeared in have been hits with the public. In addition to both the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises being pop culture phenomenons, his Jack Ryan movies, The Fugitive and Air Force One all received positive reception. I’d even make an argument for the sci-fi classic Blade Runner fitting into that action classification.
And even though Harrison Ford is getting on up in years, he still lends his talents to the action genre now and then. Just this last decade, he appeared in fare like Cowboys & Aliens, The Expendables 3 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and he’s set to reprise a certain fedora-wearing, whip-wielding hero in Indiana Jones 5.
Still, with plenty of other notable, non-action work filling up his resume, from Working Girl and Regarding Henry to 42 and The Secret Life of Pets 2, Harrison Ford can’t be accused of only leaving a meaningful impact on only one genre. If he finds a project that has an appealing story and interesting characters, he’s willing to take it on, whether or not it involves running around, punches being thrown or bullets flying.